Directed by Kelly Asbury
“From a director of ‘Shrek 2’ comes your chance to step into the secret world of garden gnomes – ‘Gnomeo & Juliet.’ Perfect for the whole family, this fresh and funny makeover of one of the world’s most timeless story features music from Sir Elton John, and the voice talents of Emily Blunt, James McAvoy and Sir Michael Caine. Caught up in a feud between neighbors, Gnomeo and Juliet must overcome as many obstacles as their namesakes. But with flamboyant pink flamingoes and epic lawnmower races, can this young couple find lasting happiness? Complete with hilarious never-before-seen bonus features, ‘Gnomeo & Juliet’ is an out-of-the-ordinary animated comedy your entire family will love. We just gnome it! ”
“Gnomeo & Juliet” is rated G.
If you’ve read “Romeo and Juliet” in school, you already know how the story ends in tragedy. Seeing as how this movie is for kids, I was curious to see how they’d handle it. Would they kill off the lead characters? Would they do some other variation? Would they completely change the story? Suffice it to say that the final way they handle it is pretty clever. They factor in the twist of how statues come to life and it will satisfy everyone from kiddies to English teachers.
“Gnomeo & Juliet” features a lot of music from Elton John. While they are great toe-tapping tunes, they don’t always fit the movie. What do “Crocodile Rock” and “Saturday Night’s Alright” and “Tiny Dancer” have to do with yard gnomes? Nothing really. I suppose it’s more about the tone of the music and scenes, but it seems to be simply recycling old songs. John does create a couple of new songs including “Love Builds a Garden,” but it’s not particularly memorable.
The voice cast is quite good. James McAvoy is surprisingly strong as Gnomeo. He’s funny, his voice is quite animated, and he’s wonderfully paired with Emily Blunt as Juliet. Blunt, too, has a great voice for animation. She’s lively and funny as well. They are supported by Michael Caine as Lord Redbrick, Maggie Smith as Lady Bluebury, Jason Statham as Tybalt, Ozzy Osbourne as Fawn, and Julie Walters as Miss Montague.
I watched this movie with my two young sons and expected them to be unimpressed by this story of star-crossed lovers. However, they were glued to the screen for the entire time. And since I was so curious to see how it ended, I was glued to the screen as well. So this is a movie that I think both kids and adults can enjoy together. It’s not great cinema, but it is entertaining.
There are a lot of bonus features included on this Blu-ray. There are two alternate endings and some deleted scenes, none of which are remarkable. “Elton Builds a Garden” details Elton John’s involvement in the film, though it mostly seems to be from the music side of things. There are some fun featurettes including one showing Ozzy Osbourne and his outtakes. Overall it’s more than I expected to be included with this film.